Sydney’s vacancy rate tightens again putting more pressure on renters

Relief for Sydney tenants has been short-lived with new data showing the vacancy rate has fallen again in July.

According to the Real Estate Institute of New South Wales (REINSW) Vacancy Rate Survey, vacancy rates across Sydney have dropped to 1.6 per cent from 1.7 per cent in the prior month.

The vacancy rate had been increasing after hitting a low of 1.3 per cent in April and March this year.

REINSW Chief Executive Officer Tim McKibbin said the data suggested the rental crisis isn’t going anywhere just yet.

“While only a small drop, it does indicate that the rental crisis is well and truly embedded,” Mr McKibbin said.

“Month after month, the story remains the same – rental availability is at crisis levels, but rents continue to increase. 

“It’s an extremely tough environment for everyone involved in the market.”

According to Mr McKibbin, vacancies across the inner and outer rings of Sydney declined, while the middle ring suburbs remained steady.

“The inner ring came in at 1.9 per cent (down 0.2 per cent), while the outer ring fell by 0.1 per cent to 1.6 per cent,” he said.

“The middle ring remained stable at 1.5 per cent.”

Source: REINSW

While conditions remain tight in the inner city, there are some positive signs for renters in regional areas, with vacancy rates rising in both the Hunter and Illawarra regions.

“In the Hunter region, the vacancy rate increased 0.1 per cent to be 1.7 per cent,” Mr McKibbin said. 

“The Illawarra region also rose, now sitting at 1.5 per cent (up 0.2 per cent).” 

He said conditions were still tight in a number of regional centres.

“Vacancy rates for the Central Coast, Central West, Coffs Harbour, Mid-North Coast, Northern Rivers, Orana, Riverina and South East areas all dropped,” he said. 

“Only the Albury, Murrumbidgee, New England and South Coast areas eased.”

Vacancy rates are the tightest in the Riverina region at just 1 per cent, while Orana has the highest availability of rentals at 3.5 per cent. 

Mr McKibbin said more needs to be done to help ease pressure on rental markets.

“Without serious and considered action from all levels of government, it’s hard to see how there can be a turnaround,” he said.

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Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a freelance journalist specialising in finance and real estate.